Here's what's trending for March 18.


3004 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Since the pandemic began, there are now 973,721 cases reported in Pennsylvania. 37 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported Wednesday. Pennsylvania's overall number now stands at 24,689. Meanwhile, the state says 3.8 million coronavirus vaccinations have been administered so far, with more than 1.3 million Pennsylvanians full vaccinated.

Tuesday, the Lehigh Valley Health Network announced it was using Pocono Raceway for a mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Wednesday, it announced all appointments have been completed filled. LVHN will begin administering the shots at the raceway beginning at 8:30 this Saturday morning. Residents in the area are frustrated by how quickly the slots filled up and are calling for more vaccination sites to open in Monroe County.

Senior centers in Carbon County will be reopening soon. The senior center services director for the Area Agency of Aging says the county plans to reopen the five centers on April 5th. The centers included in the reopening plans are Panther Valley in Nesquehoning, Penn-Kidder in Jim Thorpe, Palmerton, Lehighton and Weatherly. All five locations have been closed since last November because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Penn State University students expected to graduate this spring will be having an in-person ceremony. Penn State President Eric Barron says they're still working on doing something for its 2020 graduates who didn't get to celebrate in-person due to the pandemic. Ceremonies for this year's spring graduates will happen between May 7th and May 9th at Beaver Stadium. Graduates will only be allowed to bring two guests to sit in a pod of three people and virtual options are still available for those who can't attend the in-person ceremonies.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is encouraging more schools to welcome students back for in-person learning exactly a full year after districts went remote. Nearly 100 districts are still 100-percent onlune, with more than 317,000 students forced to log on each morening. The goal is to get schools back to full in-person learning by September.

New Jersey will start allowing youth sports leagues to play between states as long as games are outside. Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday, lifting the ban on interstate sports tomorrow. Murphy says he's pleased to be able to take this step as the weather begins to warm up. For now, players will be able to have up to two fans in the stands, but no additional spectators will be allowed.

Back on March 7th, IRS spokesman Eric Smith was asked if the deadline to file your taxes was being pushed back like it was last year. "No weekend, no holidays, no extension. It's right on the 15th of April," Smith said then. Wednesday afternoon, that was thrown out the window after the IRS announced it was moving the tax filing deadline to May 17th. This only applies to federal tax returns and not state returns.

Police in Upper Macungie Township are investigating a Wednesday afternoon accident that killed an 81-year-old pedestrian. Police Lt. Peter Nickischer says Gerald Burian, of Allentown, was hit by a tractor trailer in the 9300 block of Hamilton Boulevard around 2:15 Wednesday afternoon. Nickischer says that stretch of road is a busy one. "As you can see, it's heavily traveled with both commercial vehicles and regular vehicles," Nickischer says. He says the driver of the tractor-trailer was shaken up by what happened but he is okay, and is cooperating with investigators. Anyone who saw the incident is asked to call the Upper Macungie Police Department at 484-661-5911.

Police in Nazareth are investigating a Wednesday night stabbing. It happened around 10:30 last night in the 400 block of Union Street. One person was taken to the hospital. That person's condition is not known. One person is reportedly in custody.

A local U.S. Postal Service facility is being audited by the Inspector General due to mail delays. The Lehigh Valley Processing and Distribution Center in Hanover Township has been criticized since before the election last November. Sen. Bob Casey and Congresswoman Susan Wild both visited the center last October to raise awareness about the mail delays. Casey says he's pleased the audit is happening and the Lehigh Valley American Postal Workers Union also welcomes the audit, saying they're for improving services.

Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg says today's forecast is pretty simple. "Rain. What you see is what you're going to get pretty much all day today. I don't know that it really lets up at all. I think it continues all day and into the first part of tonight," Lundberg says. Lundberg figures we'll get up to an inch-and-a-half of rain before a little snow mixes in very late tonight.

The proposed legislation that would block PennDOT's plan to toll several bridges is taking another step forward. A Senate committee Wednesday pushed the bill to the full Senate for a vote. If passed, the bill would stop PennDOT's plan to toll nine bridges to cover costs of reconstruction or replacement. Republicans who are sponsoring the bill say there's a need for a larger discussion on how to pay for the road projects. Among the bridges on the list are the Lenhartsville Bridge on I-78 in Berks County and the Lehigh River Bridge on I-80 in Luzerne and Carbon counties.

New Jersey is joining the growing call to stop young children from being physically restrained at school Several elected officials across the country, including New Jersey's Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, support the Keeping All Students Safe Act, which would ban teachers from restraining or secluding a child while they're in the middle of a crisis.

Former Philadelphia 76er Shawn Bradley has been paralyzed after a January bicycle accident near his home in Utah. Bradley was the second player taken in the 1993 NBA Draft and played 12 seasons in the NBA, the first two-and-a-half with the 76ers.


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